NFL Draft Profiles — Eric Ebron
Eli Nachmany profiles North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron and forecasts his 2014 fantasy stock.
NFL Draft Profiles — Eric Ebron
Ebron is a dynamic playmaker; at UNC, he caught 62 passes for 973 yards and three touchdowns in 2013 alone. His 6’4”, 245 lb. frame makes it easy to liken the young tight end to San Francisco 49ers star Vernon Davis.
A host of teams, like the Jets, Bills and Giants could all spend a first round pick on Ebron. Don’t count out teams like the Cardinals or Packers, either.
If Ebron ends up a first round pick and becomes the top tight end on his new team, it’s reasonable to expect that the former Tar Heel will see around 80 targets in his rookie campaign.
Bills tight end Scott Chandler, who could be on the way out, saw 79 targets last year. Jets tight ends Kellen Winslow and Jeff Cumberland combined for 82 targets. For the Giants, it was Brandon Myers and Bear Pascoe combining for 89 targets.
Ebron will step into a similar situation and gobble up targets.
Some other tight ends who got around 80 targets last season ended up being top fantasy options. Vernon Davis hauled in 52 receptions on 82 targets, putting up 850 yards receiving and 13 touchdowns. Julius Thomas took in 65 receptions on his 88 targets, turning it into 788 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Martellus Bennett (89 targets), Jared Cook (79) and Delanie Walker (79) also finished with respectable stat lines at the tight end position, despite a lack of continuity under center.
Ebron is a tight end with a wide receiver’s skill set. He could blossom into the league’s next star ‘Y’ tight end as an in-line receiving option.
This year, for ESPN’s Standard Fantasy Scoring, three of the Top 10 tight ends in total scoring had less 90 targets. Two of those players (Davis and Thomas) finished in the Top 3. As long as Ebron stays healthy and gets his 80 targets, a Top 10 finish is certainly in play.
Of the 11 tight ends that saw between 70 and 90 targets in 2013, the average statistical output was 648 yards and six touchdowns (rounding up from 5.6, to be fair). That was equivalent to just over 100 points in ESPN Standard Fantasy Scoring, which would have been good for tenth overall.
Ebron could very well outplay these numbers, as it wouldn’t be out of the question for the rookie to break 700 yards and challenge for an eight-touchdown season (118 points, seventh overall).
He may be a rookie, but Ebron is a safe bet. He’s a fundamentally sound route runner, a ‘hands’ catcher who is smooth at the point of reception and he has the speed to torch defenses up the middle of the field. He’ll make the most of any ball thrown his way at the next level.
Ebron is going to make his money on routes to the sideline. He excels at making ‘out’ cuts and beating defenders in races to the edge. He’ll make an impact in that regard at the next level.
Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro could also post a solid season as a rookie in 2014, but he doesn’t have as much breakout potential as Ebron. Amaro will end up with more snaps played (barring injury) than Ebron, but may not see as many passes thrown his way.
Instead of gambling on Rob Gronkowski coming off of an injury, Jimmy Graham sitting on a new contract or aging players like Jason Witten and Antonio Gates, wait for tight end Eric Ebron to fall to you in the later rounds.
In both ten and twelve team formats, Ebron would be a legitimate starter as soon as he enters the NFL.